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Feature Four Frames

Heat as a psychological and aesthetic motif: Akira Kurosawa’s Stray Dog

Right from his directorial debut Sanshiro Sugata (Sugata Sanshiro, 1943), climate phenomena played an essential role in the films of Akira Kurosawa. In Sanshiro Sugata, for example, it is the wind blowing through the pampas grass, reinforcing the tension in the climactic fight scene between Sanshiro and his rival Higaki. In Kurosawa’s films, human drama […]

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New Release Reviews

Blu-Ray Review: Umberto D (Criterion)

The opening scene of Vittorio De Sica’s neorealist masterpiece Umberto D. is of a bustling city street with commuters and pedestrians going about their daily business, before a group of elderly protesters is seen marching down the main road; angrily waving placards and chanting slogans in full voice.   The protesters are a group of Italy’s […]

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Feature Four Frames

Four Frames: The Warriors (Walter Hill, 1979)

Let me flow into the oceanLet me get back to the seaLet me be stormy and let me be calmLet the tide in, and set me free … – Pete Townshend, “Drowned,” from The Who’s Quadrophenia (1973) The conflict at the heart of The Warriors (1979) isn’t as simple or straightforward as Mods versus Rockers. […]

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New Release Reviews

Blu-Ray Review: Rock ’n’ Roll High School (101 Films)

Released in the sweet spot for late 1970s early 1980s American high school comedies it is hard to see why 1979’s Rock ’n’ Roll High School is not held in higher regard. Directed by Allan Arkush (with acknowledged but uncredited ‘support’ from Joe Dante) the film is certainly no worse than its contemporaries including Animal […]

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Fashion & Film Feature

Emotionally Caged and Extravagantly Clad: The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant

The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972) is at its 50th anniversary this year and it deserves to be celebrated. It’s one of the films that made me aware of the creative process that is filmmaking, one of the films that made me love cinema. It remains my favourite Rainer Werner Fassbinder film. Seductive […]

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New Release Reviews

Blu-Ray Review: The Shaolin Plot (Eureka Classics)

“Lost” masterpieces can be catnip for serious movie buffs and collectors. Now you can properly worship at the feet of kung fu action spectacular The Shaolin Plot (1977, directed by Huang Feng), a seldom-seen Hong Kong picture from the Golden Harvest production company. Celebrated martial arts actor, stuntman and filmmaker Sammo Hung worked with director […]

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New Release Reviews

New Release: Il buco (The Hole)

We often associate progress with height – look no further than the post-World War II boom in skyscrapers. In a pre-credits scene from Michelangelo Frammartino’s Il buco (The Hole, 2021), a group of Italian villagers, huddled around a staticky television outside a café, watch footage of a newsman touring one such building. “We are climbing up […]

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New Release Reviews

New Release: Listen

Ana Rocha’s Listen (2020) begins quietly, with shots of clotheslines and tree branches swaying in the breeze: a rare moment of solace in an otherwise breathless family drama. Clocking in at under 80 minutes, the writer-director’s feature debut doesn’t waste any time immersing viewers in what must be one of the most gut-wrenching experiences a […]

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Podcast

The Big Picture Podcast: Episode 6, Great Director Debuts (part 3)

In this final part of our Great Director Debuts podcast, Gabriel and Tom discuss Rian Johnson’s revisionist neo-noir Brick (2005) which transplants the gritty pulp fiction of 50s noir from the mean streets of LA to a valley high school… …and Dea Kulumbegashvili’s Beginning (2020), a Georgian set tale of a missionary, his wife and […]